Summertime Sleepers
Animals That Estivate
What do mourning cloak butterflies have in common with pixie frogs and yellow-bellied marmots? They all estivate, or sleep through summer. Everyone knows about hibernation, but this book offers young readers a lyrical look at its fascinating warm-weather counterpart. Discover how a variety of animals survive by taking a break during the hottest days of the year.
Honors and Awards
Junior Library Guild Selection
“Employing her splendid talent for making science cool, Melissa Stewart introduces young readers to creatures that go dormant not through the winter, but during the summer. … Her enthusiasm for these unfamiliar snoozers, combined with stunningly realistic watercolor illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen, make summer sleepers the superstars in this charming nonfiction picture book.”
Shelf Awareness
hooks kids on the concept of estivation from page 1.”
Parents Magazine
Behind the Book
“Sometimes I like to scan the shelves in the natural history section of my town library and see what grabs my attention. On a hot June day in 2011, I stumbled upon a 250-page tome on hibernation. It contained a single paragraph about an animal behavior I’d never heard of—estivation. And that made me curious.
“To find out more, I typed “estivat” into a database of science journals, hoping to pull up papers with any form of the word—estivate, estivation, estivating. The reference sections of those initial papers led me to more resources, and soon I had plenty of material for a book.

“Because there were so many great examples from every corner of the animal kingdom, I knew early on that I’d write a list book. To make the presentation engaging and emphasize the diversity of the animals, I decided to use a compare-and-contrast structure with layered text. But I struggled with voice. At first, I tried a lively, humorous voice. But it just didn’t feel right for a book about inactive animals. I needed to let the topic dictate the voice, so a soft, cozy, lyrical voice was a better fit.

“Next, I had to admit that my beginning wasn’t working. After a year of being stuck, I realized that my introduction was buried on page eight. After cutting the first fifty words, I added to and reorganized the animal examples. Then I sent the manuscript to my editor. With her guidance, I tightened the structure, strengthened the flow and pacing, and reworked the back matter. Finally, the text was ready for publication.”
Summertime Sleepers
by Melissa Stewart
illus by Sarah S. Brannen
Charlesbridge, 2021
for ages 5-9
ISBN 978-1-58089-716-7
Purchase this book at your local independent bookseller or
Feathers Not Just for Flying
Seashells: More Than a Home
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